News Headlines Article

The Burden Of Colon Cancer Shifts From Rich To Poor
National Public Radio

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women in the U.S. It used to be that wealthy, white northerners had the highest death rates. But in the past few decades the trend has shifted, and now the people at highest risk are poor, black southerners.

Between 2008 and 2012, the death rates due to colorectal cancer were highest for blacks that held a high school diploma or less, according to a paper published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But this isn’t so much about education or race as it is about poverty. “It’s not about your skin color. It does matter,” Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, vice president of surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society and an author of the study, tells Shots. But the effect of race, he says, “is very small compared to the disparities that you see by socioeconomic status.”